Short Cuts

Mike Judge receives the Ernie Kovacs Award from the Dallas Video Festival and other news and events of interest to area filmmakers.

Not Quitting the Nairobi Trio Dept.: Because the annual Dallas Video Festival usually falls smack-dab in the middle of SXSW, I never seem to make it up to the Metroplex for the event, but this year the VidFest organizers can count on at least one prominent Austinite to brave the treacherous I-35 corridor. That'd be Mike Judge, who's slated to receive the festival's Ernie Kovacs Award for comic television achievement. Judge, the man behind Beavis and Butt-head, Office Space, and that darn Honky Problem, is in fine company: Previous recipients of the Kovacs bust include MST3K's Joel Hodgson, Paul Reubens, and Terry Gilliam. The award is being presented by Kovacs' widow Edie Adams. "I remember my dad or my grandfather talking about Ernie Kovacs when I was young," says Judge, "but the first time I saw the actual show was back in '90 or '91 when Comedy Central was rerunning the originals, which obviously were very ahead of their time." For those of you who may not be familiar with Kovacs' work, the comedian's show, which ran from 1951-1956 on NBC, was the forerunner of such disparate sketch comedy television landmarks as SNL and Late Night With Conan O'Brien (if you look closely at the Late Night set, you can catch a glimpse of a framed Kovacs portrait on the wall to the right of O'Brien's desk). Kovacs, who died in an automobile accident in January 1962, had a burgeoning film career at the time of his death, having appeared in as Strangers When We Meet and the classic Bewitched springboard, Bell, Book and Candle. If you haven't seen Kovacs' work, get thee to the video store posthaste. For more info on the Dallas Video Festival, go to www.videofest.org… The unstoppable Alan Watts (www.16color.com) has a new project in the works, but unlike the local animator's previous online outings, this one is less about animation per se than it is about the joy of making other people look silly. With www.toonery.com, Watts gives you the ability to upload photographs or images and then give them the classic snarky word balloon treatment. I know, I know -- yet another way to waste your time online. (But c'mon, people, this is what the Web was made for, after all!) Procrastination techniques aside, Watts says he's already getting 1,000-plus hits a day on the site, which debuted this past Monday. Go Team Sloth!… Local film-femme group Reel Women will hold its next meeting Wed., Feb. 21, 7:30pm, at GSD&M (828 W. Sixth St.). Director Nancy Schiesari and writer Amparo Garcia Crow will discuss their short film "Loaves and Fishes" (which recently aired on PBS' The Territory). More info is available at www.reelwomen.org… Finally, the Texas Film Hall of Fame has finalized the date and time of the Inaugural Ceremony. It's Fri., March 9, 6-9:30pm, at Austin Studios Hangar 4 (1901 E. 51st St.). Also not mentioned in last week's column was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be awarded posthumously to screenwriter and Texas Film Commission founder Warren Skaaren. Other inductees include actress Sissy Spacek, screenwriter Bill Wittliff, director Robert Benton, columnist Liz Smith, and agent Mike Simpson. Presenters include actor Rip Torn, screenwriter Anne Rapp, Austin Film Festival Director Barbara Morgan, former Gov. Ann Richards, and director Quentin Tarantino. The variety of ticket prices are as follows: General admission (includes hosted bar and awards ceremony; 7:30-9:30pm) costs $20 for Austin Film Society members and $25 for the public. Those tickets are available through Waterloo Records (474-2500). Dinner tickets (6-7:30pm) are $75 and available through the Film Society (322-0145). Sponsor tables that include VIP access are also available through the AFS. Proceeds from the evening benefit the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Texas Hall of Fame, Warren Skaaren, the Movie Store, Reel Women, Nancy Schiesari, Amparo Garcia Crow, The Territory, Alan Watts, www.16color.com, www.toonery.com

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